According to the National Centre For Biotechnology Information one of the very first signs of physical aging is the decline in thymocyte function or the slowing down of production of T cells which recognise and destroy other cells in our bodies that have become infected. T cells mature in the thymus gland but, as we get older, this gland becomes smaller and smaller and so the T cell function decreases leaving us at greater risk of disease. This means that, as we get older, we need to do what we can to stimulate our immune system.
Many of us know of the herbal supplement Echinacea and use it when we have the first signs of a cold but scientific tests indicate that it may also be effective in helping to enhance immune systems and therefore increase protection against more serious illnesses. Some studies have even questioned whether Echinacea is the ‘miracle herb against aging and cancer’
We should also think about the foods that we can eat that will nourish the thymus gland and therefore improve its efficacy. We all know the importance of having enough fresh fruits and vegetables in our diet but we should also be thinking in terms of increasing our intake of foods which are rich in carotenes. Scientific studies have been carried out which show that B carotene has ‘marked stimulatory action on the growth of the thymus gland’ and are therefore essential to our diets if we want to maintain our health as we get older.
This is a perfect example of the type of foods that we should be eating; carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes are all rich sources of B carotene. Look for yellow and orange in your fruits and vegetables as well as green leafy vegetables; as a general rule of thumb, the more intense the colour, the more B carotene.
If you’re not that keen on eating lots of vegetables then try juicing them – carrot, orange and spinach juice is a great tasting combination and a super quick and efficient way to get your daily B carotene fix.
We can also stimulate the thymus gland through exercise; there are a number of yoga poses which are believed to be particularly effective. If you have never tried yoga then have a chat with a professional first.
Both cobra pose (right) and Bridge Pose are designed to stimulate the Thymus gland
If you exercise daily you will improve your blood circulation and this will ensure that thymus waste products are removed quickly and efficiently so, whether its yoga, walking, tennis or football, make sure that you are doing at least 30 minutes of exercise every day to keep yourself feeling younger and healthier.